One passenger aboard an Asiana Airlines Airbus A321 decided it would be a good idea to open an emergency exit door during a flight in South Korea, according to the Associated Press. This, as you may have imagined, caused air to whip through the inside of the cabin and led to 12 people being taken to the hospital with breathing problems and other minor symptoms. Luckily, the plane still landed safely a short time later.
Folks on board reportedly tried to stop the person from opening the door, but to no avail. When the flight landed, the man in his mid-30s was immediately detained by airport police on suspicion of violating aviation security law. Right now, there’s no word on their identity or a motive, according to the AP.
The BBC reports that flight attendants weren’t able to stop him since the plane was getting ready to land, and witnesses on board said the man attempted to jump out of the plane after opening the door.
The plane is said to have had 194 people on board as it headed to the southeastern city of Daegu from the southern island of Jeju. It’s usually about an hour flight, and the incident happened during descent into the Daegu airport. Luckily for everyone involved, the incident happened when the plane was just 700 feet in the air. The whole ordeal could have been much more damaging and deadly if it was higher up.
Video taken by a person on board shows some passengers’ hair being whipped around by the air blowing through the open cabin door. You can also hear some pretty harrowing screams and cries of panic. One person who spoke to a local news source says they suffered “severe ear pain” after the door opened.
“It was chaos with people close to the door appearing to faint one by one and flight attendants calling out for doctors on board through broadcasting,” a passenger reportedly told the local source. “I thought the plane was going to blow up. I thought I was going to die like this.”
It won’t come as too much of a surprise, but there are laws barring passengers from opening exit doors and operating other equipment on board airplanes when they’re flying. South Korea’s Transport Ministry reportedly said there could be penalties of up to 10 years in prison.